|Publication number||US6922726 B2|
|Application number||US 09/816,899|
|Publication date||Jul 26, 2005|
|Filing date||Mar 23, 2001|
|Priority date||Mar 23, 2001|
|Also published as||US20020138616|
|Publication number||09816899, 816899, US 6922726 B2, US 6922726B2, US-B2-6922726, US6922726 B2, US6922726B2|
|Inventors||Sara H. Basson, Dimitri Kanevsky, Thiruvilwamalai V. Raman|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (12), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (34), Classifications (20), Legal Events (6)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Technical Field:
The present invention is directed to an improved data processing system. More specifically, the present invention is directed to an apparatus and method for providing web accessibility services.
2. Description of Related Art:
As the ADA becomes widely applied to Internet Web sites and other online properties, accessibility to these Internet Web sites, by persons having a different set of abilities becomes mandated by law. Online service providers and electronic businesses (e-businesses) need help in meeting these requirements and ensuring that they serve all their customers. As Web sites begin to differentiate themselves based on service, online businesses that offer service tailored to the customer's needs are more likely to be favored by customers with disabilities, or customers with a different set of abilities, than those Web sites that do not offer such tailored service. Until now, the industry has focused on designing shrink-wrapped client-side accessibility solutions ranging from screen-readers to self-voicing Web browsers like IBM Home Page Reader™ (HPR). IBM Home Page Reader™ is an IBM product that turns Internet Explorer into a talking browser.
Selling shrink-wrapped solutions like HPR into the support-intensive accessibility market at an affordable price is a difficult proposition. Products like IBM's Via Voice™, which uses speech recognition to type documents, for example, may be very helpful to people that cannot move or are otherwise unable to use a keyboard. Because Via Voice™ is relatively cheap, and the market of persons having special needs is relatively small when compared to the overall market, selling the Via Voice™ application to mobile-impaired users as a client end product is not a profitable venture. For this reason, companies that sell speech recognition products are not given an incentive to market their products to a relatively small market of mobile-impaired users.
Thus, it would be beneficial to have an apparatus and method for providing accessibility products to persons having special needs that is both relatively cheap for the end user as well as profitable for the supplier of the accessibility product.
Today's mainstream Internet, such as the World Wide Web, is characterized by the user agents being free, with revenue being made primarily on the server-side. This business model can be applied to providing Web accessibility to persons with special needs as a service. The present invention makes use of this model to provide a Web accessibility apparatus and method to users having special needs.
The accessibility service provider provides expertise on accessible information design along with technology offerings like speech tools. However, instead of selling this expertise, information and technology as a packaged one-time, one-size fits all solution, the present invention provides an accessibility service based on a per-access revenue model.
With such a per-access revenue model, a services provider may offer accessibility as a service to major content providers. As an example, major airlines may use the present invention to contract with an accessibility service provider to provide an access friendly view of their Web site. Under such a contract, the accessibility service provider may be paid, for example, based on the number of hits received by the accessibility service provider. For example, a company may supply speech recognition to mobile-impaired users through an accessibility services provider such that profit is generated not through the purchase of the speech recognition product, but rather when the product is used, through the accessibility services provider, to browse the Internet.
Payment may be received not just through the Internet. A mobile-impaired user may order a movie on the television, or browse through different channels through the use of speech recognition technology and voice commands. In these cases, a television or cable company may contract with the accessibility services provider to pay the accessibility service provider for the use of a service that adds customers that otherwise may not use the product sold by the television or cable company.
In another example, a hearing impaired person may use an accessibility service provider that consists of speech recognition or a human operator, to call a store and order goods. In such a case the store or company may pay the service provider that allowed the transaction to exist.
In view of the above, the present invention provides an accessibility service apparatus and method for providing an accessibility service to users so that these users may gain access to content on a data network, such as the Internet. The apparatus and method provide a mechanism by which a user may request content from the data network from a content provider. The request for content may then be intercepted by an intelligent agent on the user's client device, a proxy server, or the like, which redirects the request to a mirror content provider. The mirror content provider provides the same content as the original content provider however, it is formatted for use with one or more accessibility tools.
The requested content is then transmitted from the mirror web site to the intelligent agent, or proxy server, where the content is then input to an accessibility tool. The accessibility tool performs various functions, depending on the type of accessibility tool, to generate a modified content output that is tailored to the specific needs of the user. For example, the accessibility tool may be a screen reader tool that reads the text presented on the client device display so that a visually impaired user may be informed of content being displayed.
The present invention further includes mechanisms by which the provider of the accessibility tool is compensated for the user of the accessibility tool. In a preferred embodiment, a fixed fee, or a portion of the revenue generated by a user using the accessibility tool is reapportioned to the provider of the accessibility tool. For example, if a user makes use of an accessibility tool to select a banner ad on a web page, the web site providing the banner ad is paid a fee from the owner of the banner ad and a portion of that fee may be redirected to the provider of the accessibility tool. The transfer of such funds may be performed in any known manner, such as by electronic fund transfer, mail, or the like. Other features and advantages of the present invention will be described in, or will become apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art in view of, the following detailed description of the preferred embodiments.
The novel features believed characteristic of the invention are set forth in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, as well as a preferred mode of use, further objectives and advantages thereof, will best be understood by reference to the following detailed description of an illustrative embodiment when read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
With reference now to the figures,
In the depicted example, a server 104 is connected to network 102 along with storage unit 106. In addition, clients 108, 110, and 112 also are connected to network 102. These clients 108, 110, and 112 maybe, for example, personal computers or network computers. In the depicted example, server 104 provides data, such as boot files, operating system images, and applications to clients 108-112. Clients 108, 110, and 112 are clients to server 104. Network data processing system 100 may include additional servers, clients, and other devices not shown. In the depicted example, network data processing system 100 is the Internet with network 102 representing a worldwide collection of networks and gateways that use the TCP/IP suite of protocols to communicate with one another. At the heart of the Internet is a backbone of high-speed data communication lines between major nodes or host computers, consisting of thousands of commercial, government, educational and other computer systems that route data and messages. Of course, network data processing system 100 also may be implemented as a number of different types of networks, such as for example, an intranet, a local area network (LAN), or a wide area network (WAN).
Peripheral component interconnect (PCI) bus bridge 214 connected to I/O bus 212 provides an interface to PCI local bus 216. A number of modems may be connected to PCI bus 216. Typical PCI bus implementations will support four PCI expansion slots or add-in connectors. Communications links to network computers 108-112 in
Additional PCI bus bridges 222 and 224 provide interfaces for additional PCI buses 226 and 228, from which additional modems or network adapters may be supported. In this manner, data processing system 200 allows connections to multiple network computers. A memory-mapped graphics adapter 230 and hard disk 232 may also be connected to I/O bus 212 as depicted, either directly or indirectly.
Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the hardware depicted in
The data processing system depicted in
With reference now to
In contrast, audio adapter 316, graphics adapter 318, and audio/video adapter 319 are connected to PCI local bus 306 by add-in boards inserted into expansion slots. Expansion bus interface 314 provides a connection for a keyboard and mouse adapter 320, modem 322, and additional memory 324. Small computer system interface (SCSI) host bus adapter 312 provides a connection for hard disk drive 326, tape drive 328, and CD-ROM drive 330. Typical PCI local bus implementations will support three or four PCI expansion slots or add-in connectors.
An operating system runs on processor 302 and is used to coordinate and provide control of various components within data processing system 300 in FIG. 3. The operating system may be a commercially available operating system, such as Windows 2000, which is available from Microsoft Corporation. An object oriented programming system such as Java may run in conjunction with the operating system and provide calls to the operating system from Java programs or applications executing on data processing system 300. “Java” is a trademark of Sun Microsystems, Inc. Instructions for the operating system, the object-oriented operating system, and applications or programs are located on storage devices, such as hard disk drive 326, and may be loaded into main memory 304 for execution by processor 302.
Those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the hardware in
As another example, data processing system 300 may be a stand-alone system configured to be bootable without relying on some type of network communication interface, whether or not data processing system 300 comprises some type of network communication interface. As a further example, data processing system 300 may be a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) device, which is configured with ROM and/or flash ROM in order to provide non-volatile memory for storing operating system files and/or user-generated data.
The depicted example in FIG. 3 and above-described examples are not meant to imply architectural limitations. For example, data processing system 300 also may be a notebook computer or hand held computer in addition to taking the form of a PDA. Data processing system 300 also may be a kiosk or a Web appliance.
With the present invention, a user of a client device, such as client device 300, may obtain accessibility tools to aid the user of the client device to access content on the data network. The user of the client device may, for example, enter an address for a web page that is of interest to the user in a web page request through a web browser application of the client device. The address may be intercepted by an applet on the client device, or a proxy server, along with an identifier indicating the type of accessibility tool that the user requires. The accessibility tool identifier may be incorporated in a data packet header of the data transmission of the web page address to the applet or proxy server.
The applet/proxy server receives the web page address from the client device and identifies an accessibility tool to be provided to the client device to aid the user in obtaining the content from the requested web page. The identification may be based on the accessibility tool identifier and information stored in an accessibility tool database, as described in more detail hereafter.
The accessibility tool is then provided to the client device for use with the client device's session with the requested web page. The accessibility tool may be provided, for example, by redirecting the web page request to a mirror web site. The mirror web page is a web page that provides the same content as the requested web page but is configured for use with one or more accessibility tools. The web page from the mirror web site may be transmitted to the proxy server/applet which then applies the required accessibility tool to the web page before providing the content of the web page to the user via the client device.
Once the session with the web site is concluded, the applet/proxy server may determine an amount of funds to be paid to the supplier of the accessibility tool based on the types of transactions performed by the user using the accessibility tool. For example, if a user used the accessibility tool to select a banner ad on the web page, and the web page provider is paid 1 cent for each selection of the banner ad from their web page, a portion of the 1 cent may be paid to the accessibility tool provider as consideration for providing an additional user that otherwise may not have had access to the web page or the banner ad. In this way, the supplier of the accessibility tool is able to provide an accessibility tool to a user at no cost to the user while still be compensated for the use of their accessibility tool by those who benefit from the user's use of the accessibility tool.
For a hearing impaired person, for example, this access 401 may be calling a store. For a paralyzed person this access 401 may symbolize the ability to turn on a computer, access the Internet, and make purchases online. For a person with dyslexia the access 401 may symbolize the ability to read a product description on the Internet that will assist with making a purchase. Module 402 represents the accessibility services that a person with disabilities may require. These services may include access to the Internet, shopping at a store, access to a device, such as a television, a computer, a car, or the like. An accessibility tool 403 gives a user access to services, information or to a particular device. The accessibility tool 403 is the device or service that is designed for use by disabled persons to aid them in working with content providers on the data network. Such accessibility tools are used to compensate for the fact that the user has a different set of abilities from that of the majority of users.
The accessibility tool 403 may be implemented in hardware, software, or a combination of hardware and software. The accessibility tool may be, for example, a plug-in device to a web browser application on a user's computer, an applet downloaded to the user's computer, a tool accessible to the user via a server, or the like.
The accessibility service provider 404 has many functions as described in greater detail hereafter. In short the accessibility service provider 404 provides a interface through which a user may obtain the assistance of an accessibility tool 403. In addition, the accessibility service provider 404 monitors how a user utilizes the accessibility tool 403 in order to obtain information related to revenue generated by the user of the accessibility tool 403. The accessibility service provider 404 further determines who provided the accessibility tool 403 that allowed the person to access the content, i.e. services, information, or devices, on the data network.
The accessibility tool 403 and the accessibility service provider 404 may be provided by the same server in the data network or by separate servers. Furthermore, the accessibility tool 403 may be provided in a user's computer while the accessibility service provider 404 is provided in a server of the data network. The only limitation to the configuration of the present invention is that the accessibility tool 403 and the accessibility service provider 404 must be able to communicate information to one another.
Examples of the accessibility tool 403 include automatic speech recognition, a screen reader, Acccssible WebCite™, an intelligent agent, and the like, that allow for different types of accessibility on a user's client device, e.g. personal computer. Several examples of accessibility tools are given in U.S. Pat. No. 6,665,642 B2 entitled “Transcoding System and Method for Improved Access by Users with Special Needs,” issued on Dec. 16, 2003, which is hereby incorporated by reference.
The accessibility service provider 404 has the ability to determine the supplier of the accessibility tool 403. Module 405 represents the companies and websites that supply the accessibility tools. The accessibility service provider 404 monitors which tools were used by the user and produces a payment scheme for the supplier of that particular accessibility tool for the service rendered. The payment scheme may be based on contractually agreed to terms between the accessibility tool supplier and the accessibility service provider 404, for example.
The controller 500 is also coupled to an agreement database 506 that stores information pertaining to all of the organizations that have made an agreement with the controller 500 that they will receive payment for providing particular access services on a per-use basis. For example, the company that makes a speech recognition system may have a contract with the controller 500 that if the speech recognition system is used by persons with disabilities for a particular transaction over the data network, e.g., accessing a banner ad of a web page, then the company will receive a certain percent of the proceeds of the transaction for use of the speech recognition service.
The controller 500 further has access to indicators of the services/tools/providers 507 that the user accesses through use of the accessibility service provider. The indicators 507 identify the character of a certain access by the user. For example, the indicators 507 may include indicators identifying that the access was provided to a person with disabilities, that the person made use of a particular accessibility tool to access content, the providers of the content accessed, and the like.
The controller 500 is further coupled to a payment service device 502. The payment service device 502 makes payment to the supplier of the accessibility tool on the basis of the accessibility tool being used by a disabled user to access content. For example, after checking the indicator 507 that an accessibility tool was used, the controller 500 checks the agreement database 506 to determine whether the accessibility tool was provided according to an agreement. If so, then the controller 500 makes a payment to the supplier of the accessibility tool according to the agreement in the agreement database. Such payment may be performed in any known manner. In a preferred embodiment, such payment is performed by electronic transfer of funds to an account associated with the accessibility tool supplier.
The controller 500 also has access to the contractor of services device 508 that finds services and accessibility tools that are not yet covered by the accessibility tools database 505 but that provide accessibility tools that are beneficial to those with disabilities. The contractor device 508 attempts to entice the supplier or supplier of the accessibility tool with a general payment scheme that would apply to the given accessibility tool.
The controller 500 is further coupled to an intelligent agent system 501 that is composed of various intelligent agent software. One of the functions of the intelligent agent system 501 is to ensure that access to services was done with the help of services and accessibility tools that assist those with disabilities. The intelligent agent system 501 may find the manufacturers of the products that assist the people with disabilities through the tracking service device 503. The intelligent agent system 501 may then store one or more of the indicators 507 to indicate the nature of the use of the accessibility tools.
While the exemplary embodiment shown in
In operation, the accessibility service provider receives a request for content from a user's client device. The request includes an address of the content provider and the content requested, an identifier of the user or user's client device, and the like. This information may be provided in data packet headers, for example, of the request. Based on the user identifier, the controller 500 may identify the user's needs and abilities as well as the accessibility tool that should be used to provide the requested content to the user in a format that compensates for the user's needs and abilities. Such a determination may be made by looking-up the user in a registered user directory associated with the controller 500, for example. Alternatively, the data packet header of the request may include an indicator of the user's needs and/or abilities.
Once the controller 500 has determined the required accessibility tool to be used with the requested content, the controller 500 redirects the user's request to a mirror web site that is specially formatted for use with the identified accessibility tool. The content is retrieved from the mirror web site and input to the accessibility tool. The accessibility tool then outputs the content in a format for use by the user taking into consideration the user's needs and abilities. This process may be repeated for each request sent by the user via the user's client device. Furthermore, input from the user may be processed by the controller 500 in a reverse manner.
During this process, the intelligent agent device 501 monitors the accessibility tools used by the user and identifies the suppliers of the accessibility tools through the use of the tracking service device 503 and supplier database 504 and accessibility tools database 505. The intelligent agent further tracks the content providers who have provided content to the user using one or more of the accessibility tools. The intelligent agent device then stores the indicators 507 corresponding to this tracked information.
Once a user's session with the accessibility service provider is complete, the payment service device 502 checks the indicators 507 to determine which accessibility tools were provided to the user, who the suppliers of those accessibility tools are, and the like. The payment service device 502 may then look-up the accessibility tool and/or the supplier of the accessibility tool in the agreement database 506 to determine if an agreement has been established with the supplier of the accessibility tool regarding a royalty to be paid to the supplier. If so, the payment service device 502 makes payment to an account of the supplier in accordance with the agreement terms.
The intelligent agent 711 that monitors this process may be in a personal computer 710 that may, through a network, 720 be connected to the Via Voice and to the television. The intelligent agent 711 monitors that these services are being provided correctly and communicates this to the payment service 704. The personal computer 710 may be located in the user's room or somewhere else.
If the person is not signed up to the service then recommends that the person sign up for the accessibility service to easier serve the user in the future as well as paying a supplier of an accessibility product or tool (step 1005). If the person is signed up for the services then the system checks if the supplier of the accessibility tool being used is signed up with the accessibility Service (step 1004). If the supplier is not signed up for the accessibility service then the system finds the supplier and recommends that the supplier sign up with the service (step 1007). If the supplier of the accessibility tool or service is signed up with the accessibility service, then the system activates the payment scheme for this supplier (step 1006). In other words, a certain percent of the revenue generated because of the accessibility tool goes to the accessibility tool supplier or service provider.
Thus, the present invention provides a mechanism by which a supplier of an accessibility tool may provide the tool to disabled users on a per-use basis and receive a portion of the revenue obtained from the user of the accessibility tool. This provides the user with much needed tools to aid the user in obtaining access to content on the data network. In addition, the supplier is able to provide the accessibility tool at a relatively cheap cost to the supplier.
It is important to note that while the present invention has been described in the context of a fully functioning data processing system, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the processes of the present invention are capable of being distributed in the form of a computer readable medium of instructions and a variety of forms and that the present invention applies equally regardless of the particular type of signal bearing media actually used to carry out the distribution. Examples of computer readable media include recordable-type media, such as a floppy disk, a hard disk drive, a RAM, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, and transmission-type media, such as digital and analog communications links, wired or wireless communications links using transmission forms, such as, for example, radio frequency and light wave transmissions. The computer readable media may take the form of coded formats that are decoded for actual use in a particular data processing system.
The description of the present invention has been presented for purposes of illustration and description, and is not intended to be exhaustive or limited to the invention in the form disclosed. Many modifications and variations will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art. The embodiments were chosen and described in order to best explain the principles of the invention, the practical application, and to enable others of ordinary skill in the art to understand the invention for various embodiments with various modifications as are suited to the particular use contemplated.
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|U.S. Classification||709/227, 709/225, 709/205, 709/203, 709/229, 709/232|
|International Classification||H04L29/06, H04L29/08, G07F17/16|
|Cooperative Classification||H04L69/329, H04L67/36, H04L67/2814, G06Q20/123, H04L29/06, G07F17/0014|
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|Mar 23, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BASSON, SARA H.;KANEVSKY, DIMITRI;RAMAN, THIRUVILWAMALAIV.;REEL/FRAME:011632/0938;SIGNING DATES FROM 20010315 TO 20010322
|Jan 3, 2006||CC||Certificate of correction|
|Jan 16, 2009||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Mar 11, 2013||REMI||Maintenance fee reminder mailed|
|Jul 26, 2013||LAPS||Lapse for failure to pay maintenance fees|
|Sep 17, 2013||FP||Expired due to failure to pay maintenance fee|
Effective date: 20130726